The Tudors...Get Better

According to Jake Martin, SJ, one of our television critics, Showtime's "The Tudors" has finally hit its stride this season....

More often than not, episodes of “The Tudors” jumped from plot point to plot point with all the subtlety of crashing cymbals. Dialogue was a fusion of a ninth-grade history textbook and a discarded script from an episode of “Dynasty.” It’s an old writing tenet that one should show and not tell the audience about characters, that is, demonstrate through their behavior who they are, as opposed to stating it outright in the piece. The writing on “The Tudors” has missed the mark in this area; for instance, one doubts that Sir Thomas More continually and explicitly labeled himself a humanist in big bold letters in everyday conversation.

Advertisement

However, if the first episode of the fourth season is any indication, “The Tudors” just might have found its way. Freed from the bondage of having to regurgitate the most significant facts of Henry’s reign, the writing seems less cumbersome; the characters now seem to be uttering phrases that actual people might say as opposed to reciting historical exposition.  

The fourth season of the series opens in 1540 with Henry struggling to keep up with his child bride Catherine Howard (Tamzin Merchant) while moving into the final years of his historic reign.  Intrigue still abounds, but perhaps with the slowing down of the sovereign, Hirst feels less pressure to smash as much information (and gratuitous sex) as possible into one episode. As such, the frantic energy that seemed fundamental to the show in its first three seasons is less evident. 

Read the rest here in an online Culture review.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
James Lindsay
8 years 6 months ago
I'm sorry, but I have not desire to see a verion of the story where Henry VIII is still buff by the time of his marriage to Catherine Howard (by which time obesity and probably hypertension had probably rendered him mostly impotent). Like most medical shows and police dramas, there are way to young, skinny, pretty and oversexed people in the story to be believeable.

Advertisement

The latest from america

 10.17.2018 Pope Francis greets Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago before a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 16. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)
“We take people where they are, walking with them, moving forward,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said.
Michael J. O’LoughlinOctober 20, 2018
Catherine Pakaluk, who currently teaches at the Catholic University of America and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, describes her tweet to Mr. Macron as “spirited” and “playful.”
Emma Winters October 19, 2018
A new proposal from the Department of Homeland Security could make it much more difficult for legal immigrants to get green cards in the United States. But even before its implementation, the proposal has led immigrants to avoid receiving public benefits.
J.D. Long-GarcíaOctober 19, 2018
 Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, then nuncio to the United States, and then-Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington, are seen in a combination photo during the beatification Mass of Blessed Miriam Teresa Demjanovich at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J., Oct. 4, 2014. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)
In this third letter Archbishop Viganò no longer insists, as he did so forcefully in his first letter, that the restrictions that he claimed Benedict XVI had imposed on Archbishop McCarrick—one he alleges that Pope Francis later lifted—can be understood as “sanctions.”
Gerard O’ConnellOctober 19, 2018